Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Golden Week Adventures 2015 Day 5 (Part 3) Minami Soma, the Miracle Tree, Koi Nobori and the Fukushima Disaster Area / ゴルンウィークアドベンチャー 2015年 最終日(パート3)南相馬、奇跡の松、鯉のぼりと福島原発周辺

We are now driving through Fukushima Prefecture.  We are heading to Minami Soma to check out the home of the Miracle Tree.  This whole area was devastated by the tsunami of 3-11.  Looking back and thinking that the entire area was once filled with houses and businesses makes you feel sad for those who lost everything along with the high casualty count. 


Can you believe that in the pictures above, this was once a thriving community.

And here it is - the Miracle Tree!  The lone survivor of the tsunami that hit this area.
Oh, what sites this tree must have seen on that fateful day.
Its been four years since the 9.0 earthquake and huge tsunami but as you can see above, there is still a lot of work to be done. 
Today is also Children's Day here in Japan so you may see a lot of koi nobori.  This was at a michi no eki (Road Service Station) where we stopped for a short break.
We've been traveling for seven hours now and we are not yet half way home.  Well, maybe we are - I don't know.  All I know is we still have a ways to go.
But its the next few batch of pictures that made us all feel a bit melancholy.  It was totally surreal.  We were driving past the area where the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant is located.  The whole area is a ghost town.  Abandoned homes and businesses.  Covenient shops with product still on the shelves.  Empty gas stations and restaurants.  And there are the lonely security guards standing in front of a closed gate that leads to the plant itself.  I feel sorry for the people who had to leave their homes.  It really felt like we were in a scene from "The Day of the Comet" or "The Quiet Earth".  Or even "I am Legend" as if we were the last four people on Earth.  Very strange and creepy.
And yet there is beauty surrouding this tragic area.

One of the solitary guards on duty.

Abandoned yakiniku restaurant on the right.

 Empty Family Mart convenience store.


 Abandoned homes in the affected area.


Abandoned gasoline station.


 Another guard man on duty.


 Do you see those hundreds of bags?  They are all full of contaminated soil.

あの黒い袋いっぱい見える? 全部汚れた土が入ってるらしい。

And there it is beyond the hill - the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.  The one that exploded and has turned this entire area into a ghost town.
そしてその丘の向こうにある ー 福島大地原発。 爆発したせいでこの町を犠牲にした。
 And passing by Fukushima Power Plant Reactor No.2
Its such a beautiful area too that its sad nobody will be able to enjoy it.  I have no doubt in my mind that the people who lived here are now or will be anti-nuclear activists.
After passing through this ghost town, it was time to go to a happier place and we were once again driving along the coast.